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StarTopic Film Chat |ST| What's Your Favorite Acting Turn?

Harina

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Welcome to the grand reopening of Famiboards film community thread!

Movies cover a multitude of themes across an array of genres, but not everything is for everyone. One person’s horror is another’s western is somebody else's musical, which is what I’m hoping this thread can bridge, so we’re learning from each other’s love of their corner of appreciation. I also want to expand the scope of the thread to cover all visual media as the proliferation of cameras and their ease of use has lowered the barrier for entry, allowing even video game youtubers to make mini movies for a cheeky review.

One of the big hurdles in film discussion is how they’re started. “I didn’t like the soundtrack” or “the soundtrack was awful” could technically be true statements, but they leave no room for discussion as they’re just an opinion. “The use of Hallelujah during the sex scene brought a goofy tone to a rather serious movie,” while still your opinion opens the door to a discussion on the intent of the scene. Some are prone to operating with their feelings as the basis for a perceived arbitrary standard, resulting in “cinema sins” like color grading.

My absolute favorite review on the internet dives into this idea, presenting the naked way a critic can “attack” a subject. While not mandatory, I urge everyone to listen to at least the third segment, where the reviewer explores the ways we criticize movies. What is a “thinly written” character, what is a “thickly written” character? What makes a movie “bad,” when we allow some “good” movies to make the same “mistakes” as bad ones? As critics, all we can do is take the movie for what it is, not what we wanted it to be or would’ve done given the chance. “Why did the creators choose an ostensibly “off” tonal song for this scene and how does its use reflect on the characters?

Another major stumbling block for a film community is the debate of high vs low art, with more “robust” discussions reserved for perceived high art(there’s a discussion to be had in art vs product). This usually results in a community split and less contributors as some feel “less or unequipped” to join the conversation. A major aim of this thread will be to combat exclusion by being open to all types and fostering an educative tone of discussion rather than an argument to be won. So if you want to discuss how/if Jarmusch’s What We Do in the Shadows appearance is a juxtaposition to his oeuvre, or how the RDCWorld crew is able to distill and recontextualize for an “unintended” audience, this is the thread for you. But, please, NO youtube reviews/think pieces here unless you have something substantial to add or want to contend a point made, unless you made the piece so that we can have a proper discussion and not a potential argument from authority.

The forum will still have major movie and show reaction threads, as they tend to subsist on that initial raw emotion. The goal of this thread, then, is that after you’re over the shock of whatever you're watching, you’ll come to this thread and discuss it. Not what could happen next, but why it happened or what you took from that in regards to a theme that’s being highlighted. Hopefully we can foster a welcoming community, beyond IP culture wars and box office numbers, that grows in appreciation of not just the art form itself, but how each of us see it differently.

A primer on ways to look at film:
Different types of film analysis
As you consider your notes, outline, and general thesis about a film, the majority of your assignment will depend on what type of film analysis you are conducting. This section explores some of the different types of film analyses you may have been assigned to write.
Semiotic analysis
Semiotic analysis is the interpretation of signs and symbols, typically involving metaphors and analogies to both inanimate objects and characters within a film. Because symbols have several meanings, writers often need to determine what a particular symbol means in the film and in a broader cultural or historical context.
For instance, a writer could explore the symbolism of the flowers in Vertigo by connecting the images of them falling apart to the vulnerability of the heroine.
Here are a few other questions to consider for this type of analysis:

What objects or images are repeated throughout the film?

How does the director associate a character with small signs, such as certain colors, clothing, food, or language use?

How does a symbol or object relate to other symbols and objects, that is, what is the relationship between the film’s signs?


Many films are rich with symbolism, and it can be easy to get lost in the details. Remember to bring a semiotic analysis back around to answering the question “So what?” in your thesis.
Narrative analysis
Narrative analysis is an examination of the story elements, including narrative structure, character, and plot. This type of analysis considers the entirety of the film and the story it seeks to tell.
For example, you could take the same object from the previous example—the flowers—which meant one thing in a semiotic analysis, and ask instead about their narrative role. That is, you might analyze how Hitchcock introduces the flowers at the beginning of the film in order to return to them later to draw out the completion of the heroine’s character arc.
To create this type of analysis, you could consider questions like:

How does the film correspond to the Three-Act Structure: Act One: Setup; Act Two: Confrontation; and Act Three: Resolution?

What is the plot of the film? How does this plot differ from the narrative, that is, how the story is told? For example, are events presented out of order and to what effect?

Does the plot revolve around one character? Does the plot revolve around multiple characters? How do these characters develop across the film?


When writing a narrative analysis, take care not to spend too time on summarizing at the expense of your argument. See our handout on summarizing for more tips on making summary serve analysis.
Cultural/historical analysis
One of the most common types of analysis is the examination of a film’s relationship to its broader cultural, historical, or theoretical contexts. Whether films intentionally comment on their context or not, they are always a product of the culture or period in which they were created. By placing the film in a particular context, this type of analysis asks how the film models, challenges, or subverts different types of relations, whether historical, social, or even theoretical.
For example, the clip from Vertigo depicts a man observing a woman without her knowing it. You could examine how this aspect of the film addresses a midcentury social concern about observation, such as the sexual policing of women, or a political one, such as Cold War-era McCarthyism.
A few of the many questions you could ask in this vein include:

How does the film comment on, reinforce, or even critique social and political issues at the time it was released, including questions of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality?

How might a biographical understanding of the film’s creators and their historical moment affect the way you view the film?

How might a specific film theory, such as Queer Theory, Structuralist Theory, or Marxist Film Theory, provide a language or set of terms for articulating the attributes of the film?


Take advantage of class resources to explore possible approaches to cultural/historical film analyses, and find out whether you will be expected to do additional research into the film’s context.
Mise-en-scène analysis
A mise-en-scène analysis attends to how the filmmakers have arranged compositional elements in a film and specifically within a scene or even a single shot. This type of analysis organizes the individual elements of a scene to explore how they come together to produce meaning. You may focus on anything that adds meaning to the formal effect produced by a given scene, including: blocking, lighting, design, color, costume, as well as how these attributes work in conjunction with decisions related to sound, cinematography, and editing. For example, in the clip from Vertigo, a mise-en-scène analysis might ask how numerous elements, from lighting to camera angles, work together to present the viewer with the perspective of Jimmy Stewart’s character.
To conduct this type of analysis, you could ask:

What effects are created in a scene, and what is their purpose?

How does this scene represent the theme of the movie?

How does a scene work to express a broader point to the film’s plot?


This detailed approach to analyzing the formal elements of film can help you come up with concrete evidence for more general film analysis assignments.

I've also created The A/V Club so that we can more easily coordinate community recommendations and potential events like watch parties.

The current working title is The A/V club because the threads scope is widening, but please offer suggestions if you think of something better. I wanted to move away from "kino" as its connotations are pretty mangled, especially with an initial part coming from Pick Up Artist ideology.
 

Ramune

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Cool reboot! I’ve started logging my viewings on Letterboxd again so might pull some thoughts and recommendations over here as well. I really love the mix of tastes I’ve seen lurking in this thread for a little while now - ironically despite marketing being so saturated these days and all the streaming curation services, I sometimes feel at a loss for what to watch so I like hearing what people are queueing up for themselves.

Side note: I didn’t really know what the meaning of kino was in a modern online film discussion context because I’m not very with it - I didn’t realise we had a film thread for ages because I kept scrolling past it!
 

chocolate_supra

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Side note: I didn’t really know what the meaning of kino was in a modern online film discussion context because I’m not very with it - I didn’t realise we had a film thread for ages because I kept scrolling past it!
You just assumed we had a whole ST dedicated to Ayla's husband from Chrono Trigger?
 

Ramune

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You just assumed we had a whole ST dedicated to Ayla's husband from Chrono Trigger?
My first thought is actually a Korean idol, then that it’s that word I see very online people saying sometimes lol. Not to get bogged down in it or anything but once I clocked this was the film thread I was a little cautious about posting since I don’t really watch stuff I’ve seen people use that word for, though I think it’s ironic and realised everybody posts about all sorts in here.

Anyway, the last movie I watched was Blue Spring by Toshiaki Toyoda. I’d recommend it! It’s based on a manga apparently, but I haven’t read it so can’t speak to it as an adaptation. Delinquents essentially run their school, ignored or feared by the adults who should be nurturing and protecting them. Great performances by the two leads, and I think the finale successfully draws together a lot of visual motifs to devastating effect. It’s tough going though - quite violent and very bleak, the unreal and exaggerated situation they’re in amplifies that “my life is gonna end at graduation” despair and aimlessness to really gut-wrenching levels.

Kickass soundtrack by Thee Michelle Gun Elephant too!
 

Phosphorescent Skeleton

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Cool reboot! I’ve started logging my viewings on Letterboxd again so might pull some thoughts and recommendations over here as well. I really love the mix of tastes I’ve seen lurking in this thread for a little while now - ironically despite marketing being so saturated these days and all the streaming curation services, I sometimes feel at a loss for what to watch so I like hearing what people are queueing up for themselves.

Side note: I didn’t really know what the meaning of kino was in a modern online film discussion context because I’m not very with it - I didn’t realise we had a film thread for ages because I kept scrolling past it!
I'm happy to see it get rebooted to and really hope this thread can actually foster a stronger film community.
I also kinda hate the term kino. I've always found it annoying.
 
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EvilChameleon

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October is here, which means it's time for me to rewatch as many Bond movies as possible for Bondtober. I started with From Russia With Love, and man, everything about the opening chess scene is incredible. The set, the lack of any music, the near silence, etc.
 

Phosphorescent Skeleton

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October is here, which means it's time for me to rewatch as many Bond movies as possible for Bondtober. I started with From Russia With Love, and man, everything about the opening chess scene is incredible. The set, the lack of any music, the near silence, etc.
What would you say are the good Bond movies?
 

EvilChameleon

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What would you say are the good Bond movies?
I mean, I think they are all good, so I'm the wrong person to ask. Maybe the two Dalton movies are the ones I rewatch the least, but even then, that's because of one or two scenes, like the guy getting his head exploded in the pressure chamber.
 

Josh5890

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Saw Amsterdam yesterday and I was not a fan at all. Great cast but the film dragged on for far too long. The last 30 minutes were better, but even then they were narrating way too much of the plot at the end.

Normally I enjoy David O Russell's work, but this wasn't it.
 

chocolate_supra

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Saw Amsterdam yesterday and I was not a fan at all. Great cast but the film dragged on for far too long. The last 30 minutes were better, but even then they were narrating way too much of the plot at the end.

Normally I enjoy David O Russell's work, but this wasn't it.
Hey! I just got out of Amsterdam a few minutes ago and was wondering if anyone else has caught it! I enjoyed it, but I actually like to get lost in plodding character films, and I love the cast here so that helped.

My dad, however, just said it was the stupidest movie he's ever seen. 🤣
 
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YoboD

Bob-omb
Watched Escape From New York for the first time. For something that is 1) An 80’s movie and 2) Inspired Hideo Kojima, it wasn’t nearly as horny as I thought it would be.
 

Ramune

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Watched Escape From New York for the first time. For something that is 1) An 80’s movie and 2) Inspired Hideo Kojima, it wasn’t nearly as horny as I thought it would be.
Kurt Russell looks really hot start to finish though, so there's that.
 
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Harina

Harina

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Every week or so I’ll drop a prompt of sorts in here for everyone to discuss, though I encourage others to do the same.

Acting can seem pretty easy, especially when actors usually play to their type, but sometimes they get to let loose and have fun. This can be playing against type or just revealing a deeper well of talent than previously recognized.

I think one of the most well known turns is Tom Cruise's in Tropic Thunder:


Cruise turns his usual patented cool into the edge of rage for his belligerent portrayal.

A personal favorite of mine is Ian McKellen’s turn in Mr. Holmes.


The movie takes place in two separate times, with McKellen playing both an aging and an even older Holmes. It’s harder to show in a single clip, but the way in which his small mannerisms and speech change between periods is astonishing, overall moving the viewer to question the supposed age of McKellen.

What got me started on this thought was my involuntary quoting of Chris Evans improvised line in Scott Pilgrim.


I love how in joke his character is, being a warped view of Jason Lee if he turned action star, and other than Teen Movie, we don’t see much of this side of him.

I have more but want to give others a chance as well. So what made you stand up and say, "woah, now that's acting!"
 

chocolate_supra

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Every week or so I’ll drop a prompt of sorts in here for everyone to discuss, though I encourage others to do the same.

Acting can seem pretty easy, especially when actors usually play to their type, but sometimes they get to let loose and have fun. This can be playing against type or just revealing a deeper well of talent than previously recognized.

I think one of the most well known turns is Tom Cruise's in Tropic Thunder:


Cruise turns his usual patented cool into the edge of rage for his belligerent portrayal.

A personal favorite of mine is Ian McKellen’s turn in Mr. Holmes.


The movie takes place in two separate times, with McKellen playing both an aging and an even older Holmes. It’s harder to show in a single clip, but the way in which his small mannerisms and speech change between periods is astonishing, overall moving the viewer to question the supposed age of McKellen.

What got me started on this thought was my involuntary quoting of Chris Evans improvised line in Scott Pilgrim.


I love how in joke his character is, being a warped view of Jason Lee if he turned action star, and other than Teen Movie, we don’t see much of this side of him.

I have more but want to give others a chance as well. So what made you stand up and say, "woah, now that's acting!"
I mean.. you posted two of my favorite against-type roles right there, Cruise and Evans. 🤣

Evans' entrance being in slow-mo, accompanied by the Universal Pictures theme was fantastic, especially since the "real" theme didn't even play at the beginning of the film (though at the midnight premiere I attended, the chiptune version got serious applause).

And as far as Cruise, I sincerely didn't even know that was him for the entire movie. I kept going "who is that guy, I know that voice.." every time he was on screen, but I was in the dark all the way until the (fuckin grand) end credits sequence when his was the last name to drop.

If I were to contribute my own, since Scott Pilgrim has entered the mix I have to point out how fun it is to watch Michael Cera play anything other than "lovable doof lead character," and Molly's Game was the first thing that came to mind. Spoilers for those who haven't seen the film:


I also loved him in Any Schumer's Hulu series Life and Beth, in case any Cera fans have yet to see that.

(Great idea btw Harina 👍)
 

chocolate_supra

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With the thread being split I now get to be irrationally proud of my final post in the other one. 🤣
 

kvetcha

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I've been having a mild depressive episode this week, so maybe last night wasn't the best time to finally watch Paths of Glory. Pretty great movie, though. Kubrick really went hard once he started getting a little money behind him, didn't he?
 
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YoboD

Bob-omb
Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Great movie. Really lovely staging and direction, excellent dialogue and acting though body language on display throughout. You can really feel the connection and the deepening of the relationships between the three leads. Some parts of this film and the relationships portrayed just emotionally destroyed me, I’ll be thinking about this one for a while.

Basically the critics were right, Céline Sciamma is indeed the real deal and I look forward to going through the rest of her movies.
 

Phosphorescent Skeleton

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I've been having a mild depressive episode this week, so maybe last night wasn't the best time to finally watch Paths of Glory. Pretty great movie, though. Kubrick really went hard once he started getting a little money behind him, didn't he?
This one really blew me away. For long time I kinda had a chip on my shoulder with Kubrick, didn’t want to believe the hype, but he really was that good.
 
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kvetcha

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This one really blew me away. For long time I kinda had a chip on my shoulder with Kubrick, didn’t want to believe the hype, but he really was that good.
I honestly haven’t watched his post-2001:ASO work aside from The Shining, but Strangelove and 2001 are both incredible. Nervous about diving into A Clockwork Orange.
 
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Josh5890

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This week I saw Don't Worry Darling. I thought it was pretty decent, but it fell off the rails big time the last 20 minutes. YMMV but I'm not going to outright recommend it.

I need to catch Halloween sometime this week, then Black Adam on Thursday (already have my ticket)
 
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hologram

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Every week or so I’ll drop a prompt of sorts in here for everyone to discuss, though I encourage others to do the same.

Acting can seem pretty easy, especially when actors usually play to their type, but sometimes they get to let loose and have fun. This can be playing against type or just revealing a deeper well of talent than previously recognized.

I think one of the most well known turns is Tom Cruise's in Tropic Thunder:


Cruise turns his usual patented cool into the edge of rage for his belligerent portrayal.

A personal favorite of mine is Ian McKellen’s turn in Mr. Holmes.


The movie takes place in two separate times, with McKellen playing both an aging and an even older Holmes. It’s harder to show in a single clip, but the way in which his small mannerisms and speech change between periods is astonishing, overall moving the viewer to question the supposed age of McKellen.

What got me started on this thought was my involuntary quoting of Chris Evans improvised line in Scott Pilgrim.


I love how in joke his character is, being a warped view of Jason Lee if he turned action star, and other than Teen Movie, we don’t see much of this side of him.

I have more but want to give others a chance as well. So what made you stand up and say, "woah, now that's acting!"
Maybe not my favorite per se, but a recent one that comes to mind is Jake Lacy in The White Lotus. I was so used to seeing him as an aw-shucks nice guy, and it was quite interesting seeing how well he pulled off the smarmy, insufferable douchebag
 
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hologram

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I feel like this year has been really good for genre film. Everything Everywhere All At Once was fantastic and will likely end the year as my favorite. I really liked X, and I liked Pearl too, although not quite as much. Bodies Bodies Bodies, if you'd count that, was also really good. And of course, who can forget Barbarian? Incredible film
 
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Harina

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I've been bingeing Columbo and Attorney Woo, so this is perfect timing
 
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chocolate_supra

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I forgot to mention I went and saw Billie Lourd's new movie the other night, but it was weird.. they gave waaaay more screentime to the supporting cast than I expected (George Cloovey and Julianne Roberts or something). Cute story, though. And filmed on Australia's Gold Coast, so quite lovely too!
 
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chocolate_supra

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I heard mixed things about Everything Everywhere All at Once, but good things as well.

I'll check it out sometime.
Yeah I saw after the fact that it was a little divisive but it absolutely blew me away. It was not just my favorite of this year, it's my favorite of like the last five years.

Sorta like Scott Pilgrim, I think. If it doesn't click with you then it doesn't click, but if it does click, it clicks hard.
 

chocolate_supra

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I watched Black Adam today. I see why some people were saying it felt focus grouped to death. Like they obviously wanted to make a film with a specific tone, but then had to stitch in some relatively jarring gags after the fact because... I guess that's expected now.

I also thought it was a really really fun easter egg that Uli Latukefu, who plays the oldest version of Dwayne on Young Rock, plays his son in this movie. The older, powered-up version, anyway. Blink and you'll miss it, but I thought that was very cool of them to do.

Putting aside the uneven tone and weird B-movie scripting in the first half, I really really enjoyed the super team that goes after him. I didn't really catch any spoilers (or trailers) beforehand so the characters and the actors playing them were a surprise and a very welcome addition to the movie. Once the story began focusing more on them I thought it really took off.


Let's see, what else..

Oh! Weird is coming out next week and it's one of my most anticipated movies of the year and I don't have anything that I can watch it on because it's on friggin Roku! 😅 I tried pulling it up on my Xbone's browser and it doesn't work. The Roku website will load but any video I try to play just goes black and stays that way. I sure do wish it were playing in theaters because I would literally have been happier to pay money to see it theatrically than I will be having to jump through lord knows what hoops to stream it, even though it's on a free service. 🙃

Maybe if it gets Oscar buzz it'll result in a theatrical run.
imagine that, oscar-nominated Daniel Radcliffe, for the role of Al Yankovic
and Al potentially on stage with an Oscar in hand for writing or producing
it ain't gonna happen but imagine
 
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Harina

Harina

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Maybe if it gets Oscar buzz it'll result in a theatrical run.
imagine that, oscar-nominated Daniel Radcliffe, for the role of Al Yankovic
and Al potentially on stage with an Oscar in hand for writing or producing

it ain't gonna happen but imagine

It's playing at the Alamo Drafthouse here, so maybe check around?
 

chocolate_supra

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It's playing at the Alamo Drafthouse here, so maybe check around?
Yeah the nearest Alamo to me is four hours away. I've done nutty drives for small events before but that's a bit out of my range these days. 😅

Thanks for checking though!
 
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Apopheniac

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Wife and I did a double feature today of Triangle of Sadness and Decision to Leave. The place we go to switched their online ticket ordering to Fandango, which seems to be completely broken? If we go back, we'll probably have to buy tickets at their box office. Thankfully, the guy there was understanding and got us in. Probably helps that there was barely anyone else in either theater, which was also nice.

We liked Triangle of Sadness a lot. Very funny movie with great performances, and my wife really vibed with the commentary on fashion and influencers. I think we both preferred it over Decision to Leave, which is a lot heavier, but both movies were excellent. Main issue I had with Decision to Leave was the subtitles used this RGB distortion effect that made them difficult to read.
 
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Harina

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Just finished Emily the Criminal, which I think made me, like, root for crime?
You never rooted for crime in a movie before? Heat, Oceans 11, Set It Off, and more can get you hoping the "bad guys" win.

Thinking on it, I grew up with a lot of black films like Dead Presidents and New Jack City, so maybe I'm just used to it🤷🏽‍♀️
 

chocolate_supra

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You never rooted for crime in a movie before? Heat, Oceans 11, Set It Off, and more can get you hoping the "bad guys" win.

Thinking on it, I grew up with a lot of black films like Dead Presidents and New Jack City, so maybe I'm just used to it🤷🏽‍♀️
Well I think the difference is, the Ocean's movies feel like fantasy? I haven't seen Set It Off but other heist films like Logan Lucky, The Italian Job, there's something of a sheen to them, like they're fun adventure movies that sorta sugarcoat crime. Emily the Criminal, however, felt real. Very very real. Uncomfortably real. So it felt like I was rooting for real crime. 😅
 
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Harina

Harina

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Well I think the difference is, the Ocean's movies feel like fantasy? I haven't seen Set It Off but other heist films like Logan Lucky, The Italian Job, there's something of a sheen to them, like they're fun adventure movies that sorta sugarcoat crime. Emily the Criminal, however, felt real. Very very real. Uncomfortably real. So it felt like I was rooting for real crime. 😅

Agreed on the fantasy, you should check out Set it Off, Dead Presidents and New Jack City. The '90s brought a new era of blackspoitation that was super realistic for its time. NJC is the quintessential "hood" tale, but the other two are about the characters put into positions by society and being "forced" to commit crime. Heat is more a "everyone is shitty" movie so it's just a different vibe as well.

My uncle would sneak me and my cousins into the theater for all these and then my mom would yell at him when we came home for letting us watch it lol
 
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Red Monster

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I have now seen Weird: The Al Yankovic Story

ama
How long was the Albuquerque portion of the film?

Too bad the movie didn’t get a theatrical release. Imagine the cosplay opportunities! People wearing dogs on their heads, wearing track clothes and holding scissors, accordions everywhere. It would have been glorious.

But seriously, was it actually any good?
 

chocolate_supra

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How long was the Albuquerque portion of the film?
It actually stuck to the 80s only, surprisingly

Too bad the movie didn’t get a theatrical release. Imagine the cosplay opportunities! People wearing dogs on their heads, wearing track clothes and holding scissors, accordions everywhere. It would have been glorious.
Did you see the videos from the Toronto premiere? There was a cosplay flash mob.

But seriously, was it actually any good?
Buddy let me tell ya

It was weird
 
I watched the Baahubali films like a week ago, they're so goddamn kino. I wish American blockbusters were even just half as sincere as them, or half as dedicated to having epic imagery. My one criticism is that the editing can bring some abrupt tonal shifts, but it's so outlandish that the editing didn't stop me from enjoying just how cool the movies were.

I also liked the Snyder influence on display, talent recognizing talent.
 

Phosphorescent Skeleton

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I watched the Baahubali films like a week ago, they're so goddamn kino. I wish American blockbusters were even just half as sincere as them, or half as dedicated to having epic imagery. My one criticism is that the editing can bring some abrupt tonal shifts, but it's so outlandish that the editing didn't stop me from enjoying just how cool the movies were.

I also liked the Snyder influence on display, talent recognizing talent.
Comparing S. S. Rajamouli to Zack Snyder is certainly a thing a person can do

But yeah, the Baahubali films are pretty great, though the 2nd one is significantly better. My biggest complaint wouldn't be the tonal shifts (a pretty standard feature of Indian cinema) but the egregious use of black face in the first film.
 

JazzPotatoes

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He/Him
Funnily enough, I just watched Baahubali pt 1 last week, and have pt 2 lined up. I echo the previous statements: the actual film making and pure kino on display is amazing, but the use of blackface in the second half to portray the invading army is an olympic level Oof.

RRR remains the superior experience for that alone: it rightfully targets the English as the bad guys, and no blackface is needed.
 


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